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Dessert for diabetics sugar paleo

Dessert for diabetics

My gran is just about to start receiving “Meals on Wheels”, which is a great service. In principle. Vulnerable people (mainly the elderly) are provided with a cooked nutritious meal at lunchtime. For many recipients, this will be the main nutrition they get in that day, so it’s really important that the meal provides the nutrition they need. Especially for those with conditions like diabetes, you’d think?

Dessert for diabetics sugar paleo

Each day (it’s even available on Saturdays and Sunday’s) they offer a choice of a main course and a choice of dessert. The main course choices, as you might expect are a traditional meat based meal, or a vegetarian option. And the desserts? Yep, hot, cold or diabetic.

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I was really shocked to see diabetic desserts – and even more surprised to see what they are. You’d maybe expect low-carb options, like a cheese board perhaps. But no, they’re traditional sweet desserts, such as cakes and pies.

Looking at the definition I found on the web of what the diabetic options should consist of, it’s clear the providers of nutrition are stuck with conventional wisdom. “Desserts for diabetics must be sweetened with artificial sweeteners or sweeteners combined with a minimal amount of sugar”.

Diabetic definitions meals on wheels

How about making desserts sugar (and sweetener free) entirely – or even swapping the dessert out for a starter instead!? Where did the idea that all meals must be finished with a dessert come from anyway?

As meals on wheels only provides one meal a day, they have some helpful recommendations as to what diabetics should eat for the rest of their meals:

Diabetic-recommendations

That’s right – diabetics should get 6-11 servings of bread and grains a day! DIABETICS! Also, note the low-fat recommendations. Those diabetics have got to steer well clear of anything so much as resembling fat, and instead go for low-fat options, that have replaced the fat with carbohydrates. Oh, and fruit – go right ahead.

I’d love to hear our comments on the diabetic nutrition for the most vulnerable diabetics in our communities. What meals do you think they should be offered?

Eat more gluten magazine article paleo network-min

Eat More Gluten!

I can’t wait for the day when the “health” magazines start advocating more of a Paleo approach, with real food and eating of  fat encouraged.  But it seems like we still have a long way to go.

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I came across the snippet below in the March edition of “Weight Watchers” magazine.  Just in case any of their readers had been considering avoiding carbs, they warn that

“carbohydrates provide the body and brain with their primary source of fuel and are essential for energy levels”

Interesting. I tend to have fewer than 50g of carbs a day, so presumably I must have no energy?  Yet, bizarrely, I find I have more energy than ever before.  Just yesterday I had so much energy I felt compelled to break out into a sprint on my way home.  But I must be mistaken! It says so in a magazine after all.

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Without eating enough carbohydrates you might get

“fatigue, light-headedness, headaches, sugar cravings and irritability”

and they advise that you choose carbohydrates like

“wholegrain bread and cereals, grainy crackers, oats, fresh fruit and low-fat dairy”

Well, I’ve somehow managed to avoid any of those symptoms.  I’m not sure that avoiding sugar cravings, by eating foods that break down into sugar, really counts either.  And as for low-fat dairy being a good source of carbohydrates?

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The other article I read was from the March/ April 2012 edition of “Australian Diabetic Living”.  They ran a piece on Celiac disease.  The question was

“Should I avoid gluten products, just in case I might have Celiac disease?”

My answer would be that since gluten has detrimental effects on so many people, even those who don’t test positive for Celiac disease, it certainly should be avoided by everyone.  Given how long gluten stays in the body for, I think a strictly gluten-free diet is the right approach, for everyone.  Did they come up with a similar answer?

“No.  You can actually make it harder for your body to digest gluten if you cut most of it from your diet without good reason”.

Unfortunately there were no references for this startling revelation, which I’d have been very interested to check out.  So basically the diabetic magazine wants its diabetic readers to make sure they eat lots of gluten – which often come hand in hand with the not so diabetic friendly refined carbs?

What do you think?  Do you struggle to find the energy to function without bread and cereals?  Do you make sure you eat lots of gluten, to, er, help your body digest the gluten that you eat?

Eat more gluten magazine article paleo network-min

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Making Flight Food Paleo

I’ve just booked my flights back to the UK for a long awaited Christmas visiting my family.  Australia couldn’t be much further from the UK, which means almost 24 hours of flying each way.  One of the things I hate the most about flying is the very limited Paleo food options.  Often airports limit what you can take through security and onto the plane – which makes it very hard to guarantee good Paleo options. Why can’t they make Flight Food Paleo?

I usually fly with Qantas, which offers the following meal options:

  • Diabetic: High in complex carbohydrate and dietary fibre; low in fat; no added sugar; low salt.
  • Fruit Platter: Consists of fresh, tinned and dried fruits.
  • Gluten Intolerance: Do not contain wheat, rye, oats, barley or malt or any milk or milk products.
  • Hindu: Do not contain beef, beef derivatives, veal or pork. Meals may contain fish or lamb.
  • Kosher Meal: Prepared to comply with Jewish dietary laws.
  • Moslem (Halal): Do not contain pork, or pork by-products. All meats come from ritually slaughtered animals.
  • Vegetarian (Asian Indian Style): Contain egg and diary products and are suitable for Hindu vegetarians.
  • Vegetarian (Lacto Ovo): Do not contain meat, fish or seafood but may contain dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese and eggs or foods containing these.
  • Vegetarian (Oriental): Contain vegetables, fruit, rice noodles and can contain nuts.
  • Vegetarian (Strict Indian): Do not contain any eggs, dairy or bulbous vegetables and are suitable for Hindu vegetarians.
  • Vegan: Contain fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and pulses and do not contain any animal products such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs milk or honey.

On my last two international flights (to PrimalCon and the AHS), I’ve tried different approaches, in the hope that I could stumble upon the best Paleo friendly meal option.

In my option, Diabetic people should follow a Paleo approach, to stabilise their blood sugar levels, so when I went to PrimalCon in April, I ordered a Diabetic meal.  I don’t understand why this is a low-fat, but hoped it would come with some good meat and some alternatives to the processed, sugar filled snacks that often go alongside plane meals.  Some of the actual meals weren’t too bad, for instance a breakfast of eggs, tomatoes mushrooms and spinach and a main meal of chicken, broccoli, carrots and white rice.  Some of the food however, left a lot to be desired.  Rice crackers served with a soy based spread (whilst everyone else on the plane got proper butter) and a breakfast of cereal and soy milk (remember, this is aimed at diabetics).

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In August when I went to the Ancestral Health Symposium, I thought I’d try my luck with a gluten free meal.  My Paleo diet is completely gluten free, so somewhat optimistically I’d hoped for a good equivalent here.  I actually found the gluten free option considerably worse than the Diabetic option.  As I noticed at the gluten free expo, gluten free seems to be a huge industry of franken-foods.  Gluten is omitted – but replaced with lots of processed ingredients I don’t want to consume.  They still serve biscuits, deserts and other junk food, it’s just had the gluten removed.  Not Paleo.

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On the way back, I therefore changed my meal preference and went with the standard option, which was actually much better.  Yes, there was a lot I wouldn’t eat, but most of the food was closer to “whole” food.  Butter was butter and I was lucky to have an option of a “meat and veg” style meal, instead of a pasta based meal.

So for this trip, I think I’m also going to try my luck with the standard option.  It appears I can bring small amounts of packaged food onto the flight, so I plan to try my luck and bring some jerky, raw nuts and avocados.  These foods, along with any reasonable looking meat and vegetables I can salvage from the plane food should be plenty to keep me going.  There’s also the very Paleo option of a coinciding intermittent fasting, should my food get confiscated at security!

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a Paleo meal option of organic, grass fed meat and not a processed product in sight?  Perhaps one day…

I’d love to hear your plane food hacks.  How do you keep it Paleo during a long flight?

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Diabetic sweets fruit slim sugar free paleo diet

Diabetic Sweets

I picked up the November issue of “Diabetic Living” magazine yesterday.  The piece below tells diabetic readers how good Fruit Slim sweets are, “sugar-free, fat-free, fibre filled”, which will “halt food cravings in their tracks”.  It then goes on to say that there is more fibre in five of these sweets, than there is in two-cups of spinach or 15 raw almonds!  This makes me slightly want to cry!

Guilt-Free-Sweets-diabetic diabetes

So, the ingredients of “Fruit Slims” are: Gum Acacia, Maltitol, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Acidifier (330), Fruit Juice Concentrate, Flavour, Vegetable Oil, Sweetener (955), Natural Colour ( Paprika), Coating Agent (901).

Sweetener (955) is sucralose.  This sweetener has been linked with liver and kidney damage.  There is also a lot of uncertainty with artificial sweeteners and some evidence to suggest that they may cause an insulin response; clearly not desirable in diabetics!  Maltitol, Sorbitol and Xylitol are all sugar alcohols, which might be classed as “sugar-free”, but are carbohydrates and do have an effect on blood sugar levels.  Fruit juice is also sugar, which clearly impacts blood sugar levels.  “Flavour” could mean anything and as for the “vegetable” oil; well, that’s certainly not Paleo!  The ingredients of these “crazy good” sweets look more like a chemistry experiment; there are no real foods in sight.

I think it’s really irresponsible to promote these as a good product to anyone, never mind diabetics.  To imply they are a better choice than almonds or spinach seems reckless.  They might have more fibre, but when eating a Paleo diet rich in vegetables, fibre won’t be an issue.  Besides, for diabetics, blood sugar is a far more pressing issue than fibre?

I’ve not found anything to back up the claim that these sweets will “halt food cravings in their tracks”.  In fact from what I’ve read, artificial sweeteners appear to have the opposite effect, increasing cravings for carbohydrates.

Compare the chemical composition of “Fruit Slims” to the “alternatives” of almonds and spinach.

Almonds provide high natural amounts of many nutrients, including manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, tryptophan, copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus.

Spinach is a fantastic source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), tryptophan, vitamin E, copper, vitamin B1 (thiamine), phosphorus, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B3 (niacin) and selenium – and many other nutrients.

Am I missing the benefits of this swap?

Diabetic sweets fruit slim sugar free paleo diet